LVTP7 Landing Vehicle, Tracked
AAVP7A1 Assault Amphibian Vehicle Personnel
The AAVP7A1 is an armored assault amphibious full-tracked landing vehicle. The vehicle carries troops in water operations from ship to shore, through rough water and surf zone. It also carries troops to inland objectives after ashore. The amphibious capability of the AAV makes it unique among all DOD systems. This forcible entry amphibious capability is the unique capability that sets the Marine Corps apart from the other services. A portion [64%] of the AAV fleet would undergo a reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) upgrade, and a rebuild to standard (RS) retrofit, to ensure Marine AAVs remain maintainable until the arrival of the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV).
The AAV-P7A1 Amtrack provides protected transport of up to 25 combat-loaded Marines through all types of terrain. The engine compartment can be completely water-sealed, making it seaworthy. It has an enhanced applique, armor kit, or sandwich-plated steel armor, with a layer of Kevlar underneath, to protect the troops from high-caliber weapons fire. It's firepower consists of an M2 .50-cal. machine gun, an MK-19 40mm grenade launcher, and a line charge with C4 explosives for use in clearing mines. It can move at speeds of up to 45 mph on land and five knots at sea.
While underway, the Marines clean and maintain their Amtracks, or what they call their "hogs," every day to prevent them from rusting and to ensure their combat survivability. Nothing escapes their attention. They toil over their machines to tighten loose bolts, check the suspension, squirt a little grease here and there, and give it a good scrubbing. If this vehicle were to break down while under hostile gunfire, the consequences could be disastrous and cost the lives of a lot of good men.
In 1985 the Marine Corps changed the designation of the LVTP7Al to AAV7Al--amphibious assault vehicle-representing a shift in emphasis away from the long-time LVT designation, meaning "landing vehicle, tracked." Without a change of a bolt or plate, the AAV7Al was to be more of an armored personnel carrier and less of a landing vehicle. The LVTP7, which had come into the Marine Corps inventory in the early 1970s, was a quantum improvement over the short-ranged LVTP5 of the Vietnam era. Weighing in at 26 tons (23,991 kg) combat-loaded, and with a three-man crew, it can carry 25 Marines.
With a road speed of 45 mph (72 km/h), it is also fully amphibious with water speeds up to 8 mph (13 km/h). It is not as heavily armed or armored as the Army's Bradley infantry fighting vehicle; on the other hand, the M2A1 Bradley carries only seven troop passengers.
The AAV was originally designed and built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Replacement vehicle designs in the early 1980s were canceled and a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) was initiated. This SLEP was completed in 1986. The SLEP extended the projected life of the AAV until the mid 1990s when a new amphibious assault vehicle was expected to be fielded. A Product Improvement Program (PIP) in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in a significant increase in the weight of the AAV. This weight growth was not matched with an increase in power or suspension components. The increased weight has strained the ability of the suspension to provide a smooth and safe ride for embarked personnel while decreasing overall ground clearance from 16 inches to less than 12 inches. The result has been an increased maintenance requirement on the power plant, suspension, and electrical systems. Additionally, a larger than expected corrosion control maintenance program has been required.
The Assault Amphibian Vehicle (AAV) was originally fielded in 1972, and although there have been numerous upgrades and overhauls throughout its' lifecycle, the AAV will have been in service for 40 years by the time AAAV is fully fielded. In 1988, a series of Mission Area Analyses determined that the AAV was significantly deficient in several important areas, to include water and land speed, firepower, armor protection, and system survivability. Thus, the requirement for an improved assault amphibian vehicle was established.
The new Advanced Assault Amphibious Vehicle (AAAV) is in the program definition and risk reduction phase of the acquisition process. The AAAV fielding schedule requires the expected life of the SLEP AAV to be more than double what was planned. The projected fielding schedule of the AAAV means the AAV will be in service for another 15 years.
Many systems on the AAV are reaching the end of their useful life and will require replacement. Marine Corps System Command determined that instead of Inspect or Repair Only as Necessary (IROAN), the next cycle of AAV depot maintenance action would more appropriately be a Rebuild to Standard.
The Marine Corps AAVP7A1 is designed to operate over harsh off-road terrain and in oceans and rivers. The AAVP7A1 uses lightweight track and suspension components to reduce the vehicle weight by thousands of pounds. Because the lightweight components are more susceptible to damage than heavier materials, the Marine Corps would like to enhance the component’s durability without significantly increasing weight and cost. The current track and suspension components are subject to corrosion, impact, abrasion, and also to high tensile and compressive loads. These components are also expected to operate in severe environments such as high humidity, seawater, sand, mud, rocks, gravel, etc. Climatic conditions can range from -65°F to 125°F.
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